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Playground Renovation Guide: When and How to Update Your Playground Equipment

Posted by Churchich Content Team Content on November 3, 2023

Playgrounds can become worn down or even dangerous over time. However, they can last for years when properly maintained and repaired. This guide shows how to recognize when a playground requires repair and when you need to replace it.


Your playground’s longevity largely depends on the materials it’s made of, which are typically metal, wood, or plastic. Plastic is the most resistant to the elements, as metal tends to rust when exposed to rain and other forms of water. In addition, wood can rot and splinter when it becomes worn, creating a safety hazard.

The materials under the sets can also affect the length of time a playground lasts. For example, mulch can accelerate the decay of wooden equipment, while plastic surfaces and sand can help protect playground equipment.

Additional factors that can affect a playground’s lifespan include its original quality, especially if it’s already used. Furthermore, its frequency of use increases the rate at which damage occurs. Severe weather such as temperature extremes, frequent rain, and high humidity also reduce a playground’s lifespan.

Local wildlife is another factor that can damage playgrounds faster than normal, especially insects like termites. In addition, safety standards can change, requiring the replacement of equipment before it would otherwise be necessary.

The variety of these factors makes it impossible to determine how long playground equipment will last. New playground equipment should generally last at least eight years, although it often lasts longer than 20 years with proper inspections and maintenance.

Maintenance and Inspections

The possibility that a worn or damaged playground set could injure a child means that equipment maintenance requires a proactive approach, including regular inspections. You can perform your own general inspections, such as checking for uneven areas that could pose a tripping hazard. Many maintenance activities like keeping the area free of debris have no particular training requirements.

In addition to your general own checks, a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) should also conduct regular playground inspections. This professional can provide guidance on issues that need to be addressed. For example, problems like keeping moving parts working typically require professional help.

Equipment Replacement

Routine maintenance and repair are essential for extending a playground’s useful life, but there always comes a time when equipment requires replacement. There are many signs that can help determine the best course of action on this issue.

Damage that isn’t easy to repair is a common indication that you need to replace equipment. For example, cracked or broken plastic equipment typically requires replacement. Missing equipment or equipment that no longer functions correctly is another reason to consider replacement.

Even if the equipment is currently in good working order, you may still want to replace it before it suffers a catastrophic failure. This practice is especially applicable to equipment that regularly receives heavy use. It’s often possible to anticipate a failure by observing an increase in the number of complaints about the equipment.

Lastly, it may be necessary to replace outdated equipment due to changing safety standards, rather than damage. A CPSI can confirm when it’s time to replace playground equipment as opposed to repairing it.

Create a New Playground

Churchich Recreation & Design can help you with your playground needs, whether you need to design a completely new playground or replace individual pieces. We offer a variety of pieces for children of all abilities and experience levels, including interactive pieces and themed playgrounds. Our equipment can also keep your playground up-to-date with changing safety standards and the latest trends.

We provide playground equipment that will last for many years, but we also offer other related services. For example, we can help you remove your current equipment and assess your site. This process considers the available space and other requirements for your next playground. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you plan your next playground.